An award-winning author and antiracist scholar recently spoke as part of the Berry College Cecil B. Wright III Integrity and Leadership lecture series.
Over a thousand students, faculty/staff, alumni and community members joined the conversation virtually with Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” and Boston University Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities.
“How to Be an Antiracist” was named one the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, NPR, The Washington Post and others. In 2020, Time magazine named Kendi one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Kendi is the founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a racial justice contributor for CBS News.
Berry Provost Mary Boyd and student Noah Miller moderated the lecture which was structured as a Q&A. Kendi discussed the concept of antiracism and defined keywords in antiracist discussion, such as racist, systemic racism and white supremacy.
“What makes the U.S. in particular beautiful is all the different racial, ethnic, and cultural groups,” Kendi said. “So, for a person to not want to see that, they aren’t seeing one of the most beautiful aspects of community.”
In “How to Be an Antiracist,” Kendi shares his own experience with racist thinking. Through the text, Kendi takes readers into a number of ideas, with the goal of helping readers see all forms of racism more clearly, understand their consequences and work to oppose them in our systems and ourselves.
“The good news is that racist and antiracist are not fixed identities. We can be racist one minute and an antiracist the next,” Kendi wrote.